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DeSmith Gets De-Shutout; Penguins Silence Ottawa 2-0



Pittsburgh Penguins game, Ottawa Senators

The Pittsburgh Penguins (29-11-8) won their second game in a row and avoided another furious Ottawa Senators comeback by controlling the puck and play in the third period. Jeff Carter scored for the Penguins who vaulted into second place in the Metro Division by beating Ottawa 2-0 at the Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday.

Bryan Rust scored the empty netter after Sidney Crosby blocked a point-blank shot with 20 seconds remaining.

There were just 500 fans in attendance due to Canadian COVID restrictions. The game finished in less than 2.5 hours because it was a goaltending duel between Matt Murray and Casey DeSmith.

DeSmith submitted his second consecutive strong performance. In his last start on Jan. 28, DeSmith stopped 30 of 32 but lost in a shootout to the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2.

Thursday night, DeSmith stopped 21 shots through 40 minutes. Overall, he made 26 saves in his second shutout of the season. It was also DeSmith’s first win since Jan. 2, in just his fourth start since then.

Murray, who faced the Penguins for the first time since the 2020 trade, stopped 24 of the first 25 shots in the first two periods. Murray was good and stopped 42 of 43 shots.

The Penguins outshot Ottawa 19-5 in the third period.

The teams skated through a fast, uptempo but benign first period. The shots were nearly even (12-11, Ottawa), and no player had more than two shots. Both starting goalies had to make a couple of tough saves, but neither team was able to sustain intense offensive pressure.

The second period was more of the same for both teams, though the quality of scoring chances increased. DeSmith and Murray had to stop a few Grade-A chances.

DeSmith stopped Nick Paul on a shorthanded breakaway, and Murray did the same to Jeff Carter.

However, Carter broke the scoreless tie midway through the second period. The Penguins transitioned quickly after an Ottawa turnover at center ice. Kris Letang served a soft pass for Carter (13) to rip a top-corner one-timer.

It was Carter’s first goal in seven games and second goal in his last 12. Carter and Ottawa’s Alex Formenton led all players with four shots in the first two periods. Carter, Crosby and Jake Guentzel all had six shots to pace everyone.

The Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t do much on their two power plays, just as the Ottawa Senators didn’t do much with their single chance.

Crosby will chase his 500th goal again on Sunday when the Penguins visit the New Jersey Devils, then host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.